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    DENVER (AP) – The Colorado Avalanche were playing out the string a year ago. With 19 games left in this season they’re battling for their first playoff berth in four years.”It’s a complete 180. We had nothing to play for last year at this time and this year we have everything to play Columbus Blue Jackets T-Shirts Authentic ,” center Nathan MacKinnon said. ”We’re going to try to keep it going.”MacKinnon and Tyson Barrie each had a goal and an assist in the Avalanche’s 5-2 victory over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night.Matt Nieto and Nikita Zadorov also scored, and Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves. The Avalanche have won 12 of 13 home games to tighten the Western Conference playoff race.Colorado tied Calgary with 73 points and moved within a point of Anaheim and St. Louis for the second wild card.”It’s huge,” Barrie said. ”I don’t think anybody picked us to be here. So here we are.”Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik scored, and David Rittich stopped 29 shots for Calgary, which couldn’t rally with its leading scorer out for the last 11:55.Johnny Gaudreau was tossed after drawing a high-sticking penalty on Colorado’s Blake Comeau. Gaudreau was given an embellishment minor on the play and then assessed a game misconduct after arguing with the officials from the penalty box.”I don’t know how you’re supposed to react to getting hit in the face,” Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan said of the embellishment call. ”When I lost half the vision in my left eye getting a stick in the face, I throw my head back. He was flying, 20 mph, whatever he’s going, and you get a stick in the face? Your head’s going back. I don’t get it. If I’m Johnny I’m mad Columbus Blue Jackets Hoodies Authentic , too.”You’re a guy that’s six, eight penalty minutes a year? Come on.”Gulutzan said Gaudreau was tossed after he made a gesture to the official while sitting in the penalty box.”You can’t make a gesture because officials don’t want to be shown up on TV,” Gulutzan said. ”That’s kind of the unwritten rule. He just kind of waved his hand.”Colorado took control with a four-goal flurry in the second period that turned a 2-0 deficit into a two-goal lead. MacKinnon’s 29th midway through the period started it, Zadorov tied it 1:08 later, and Barrie gave the Avs a 3-2 lead with his seventh goal at 12:41.Nieto made it 4-2 with 1:18 to go when Carl Soderberg threaded a pass through two defensemen to the front of the net for an easy tap-in.Duncan Siemens sealed it when he scored into an empty net with 17 seconds left in the game for his first NHL goal.The Flames had a late power play and pulled Rittich for a two-man advantage but couldn’t score. They have now fallen out of a playoff position with 17 games left.”We were saying we controlled our own destiny,” Calgary captain Mark Giordano said. ”Now we are getting to that point where if we don’t start stringing wins together we are going to need some help.”The Flames capitalized on a pair of Colorado turnovers to take an early two-goal. Backlund scored a short-handed goal at 14:19 of the first, and Frolik made it 2-0 with his 10th goal 2:41 into the second.”Having a 2-0 lead, that’s when you to try to put them away and then play sound defense,” Flames forward Matthew Tkachuck said. ”We let them back in the game right away.”NOTES: Avalanche coach Jared Bednar celebrated his 46th birthday on Wednesday. … Colorado was 1 of 7 on the power play. … Flames D Nick Shore, acquired from Ottawa on Monday Columbus Blue Jackets Hats Authentic , was scratched due to illness. … The Avalanche recalled G Spencer Martin from the AHL to serve as Varlamov’s backup. Jonathan Bernier and Andrew Hammond are in the concussion protocol. … Calgary is 6-4-1 on the second night of back-to-back games. … Comeau and Soderberg had two assists each for Colorado.UP NEXTFlames: Host the New York Rangers on Friday night.Avalanche: Host Minnesota on Friday night. CHICAGO (AP) — Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini got right to work with the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.Strome and Perlini made it to Chicago in time to join their new team for practice after they were acquired Sunday night in a trade with Arizona. The Blackhawks sent Nick Schmaltz to the Coyotes for Strome and Perlini in a swap of former first-round draft picks.“Watching both Brendan and Dylan play, I think there’s a lot of attributes to their game that are going to translate well to how we want to play,” general manager Stan Bowman said.Strome and Perlini could make their Chicago debuts when the Blackhawks host the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night.The trade reunites Strome with Alex DeBrincat after they played together with the Erie Otters in the OHL for three seasons. Strome had 22 goals and 53 assists and DeBrincat finished with 65 goals and 62 assists during their final season together in 2016-17.“He’s one of my best friends,” Stome said. “It’s nice to see him again, see a familiar face around the rink. We had a lot of chemistry back in junior, a lot of good times. We’ll see what happens here. But obviously he can score. I know he’s fun to play with.”Strome was selected by Arizona with the No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft, ahead of budding stars Mitch Marner, Mikko Rantanen, Mathew Barzal and Thomas Chabot. DeBrincat had to wait to No. 39 overall before Chicago grabbed him in 2016.But DeBrincat has flourished with the Blackhawks while Strome has put up more modest numbers. The 21-year-old Strome has just seven goals and nine assists in 48 career games, and the Blackhawks are hoping he can deliver on his considerable potential in Chicago.“Obviously I want to be a little bit more productive. I don’t think it’s any surprise to anyone Custom Columbus Blue Jackets Jerseys ,” Strome said. “I want to put up numbers and help whatever team I’m on win, so I want to come here and help this team win. I’m a Chicago Blackhawk now and I’m proud and I’m ready to get to work.”The 22-year-old Perlini has two goals and four assists in 22 games this season. He set career highs with 17 goals and 13 assists in 74 games last season.“It’s a new fresh opportunity for me,” said Perlini, who was selected by Arizona with the No. 12 pick in the 2014 draft. “You can tell in practice, you know, great players, a lot of veteran guys who have done great things in the game. So for me to come in, I just want to learn off them and improve and get better every day.”
      April 14, 2019 9:33 PM MDT
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